On Sunday, March 24th, the Captains gathered in the Powerhouse for their final LEADS event of the year, and for most of them, their final LEADS event ever! This year marked the fourth Honors Night. The event recognized their growth and success as leaders throughout their time at Amherst.
Joe Cardona, long-snapper for the New England Patriots, was the first award-winner of the night. Amherst LEADS honored Joe with the Distinguished Leaders Award. The Distinguished Leader Award is presented to an individual who is consistently a leader in the many facets of their life, one who has continuously provided support, guidance, and dedication to those they work with on a daily basis. The contributions that the distinguished leader has made to those they work with do not go unseen. The courage, passion and love for the work that they do has proved to make a tremendous impact on the community. The Distinguished Leader has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make a positive impact to those they care about most.
Beyond being the long snapper for the New England Patriots and an officer in the Navy, Joe goes above and beyond providing support and dedication to the community. In August of 2018, Joe received the 2018 Ron Burton Community Service Award for his outstanding commitment to giving back to the community. He was the 16th player to receive the award and the first to do so while also serving as a Lieutenant Junior Grade.
The Amherst Community Partner Award is presented to an individual on the Amherst College Campus who has displayed qualities that are admirable to faculty, students and staff. The community partner has been selected by LEADS to accept this award for providing constant support to the student body and athletics department. The recipient of this award perpetually exudes the mission of the college and is continuously seeking to have the best environment of mutual support, teamwork and partnership within the college and the Amherst community.
The 2019 recipient of the Amherst Community Partner Award was Dr. Jacqueline Alvarez. Dr. Alvarez directs the Amherst College Counseling Center. She received her BA in psychology and sociology from the University of Notre Dame and her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, where after she completed a doctoral internship at the University of Texas at Austin. Her approach to therapy integrates many theories, and at heart she is a developmentalist who believes strongly in biopsychosocial and systems models. She often works within a solution-focused framework, and draws heavily on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT). Some areas of particular clinical interest include complex intersections of identity, positive psychology, self-esteem and shame, anxiety and perfectionism, depression, couples counseling, and family dysfunction.
Next, Dr. Kimberlyn Leary received the Excellence in Alumni Leadership Award. The Excellence in Alumni Leadership Award is presented to an Amherst Alum who excelled as a leader in their sport(s), academics or in the community. In addition, the alum has been recognized by LEADS as a standout in their chosen profession, displaying the necessary leadership skills to make it to the next level. The selected alum, during their time at Amherst, represented the institution in a positive and honorable manner, always setting a great example for those around them. The recognized alum continuously strives to make the Amherst College community proud.
Dr. Leary is an associate professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School and an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she directs the Enabling Change program. As a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, she served as an adviser to President Obama's White House Council on Women and Girls, developing the Advancing Equity initiative focused on improving life outcomes for women and girls of color. She completed an extension of her fellowship at the White House Office of Management and Budget in the Health Division’s public health branch, where she served as the division lead on the Flint water crisis. At Amherst, she majored in psychology, graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Sigma Xi Honor Society.
Lastly, Amherst Women’s Soccer Coach Jen Hughes made her way to the podium to introduce Maeve McNamara, who received the Distinguished Captain Award. The Distinguished Captain Award is presented by LEADS to a standout captain and soon-to-be graduate who has shown the utmost aptitude for leadership, development, and accountability among teammates, classmates, and coaches. This student has been an example on and off the field, has provided guidance to those in need, has been committed to the mission of Amherst Athletics, and has exhibited positivity, work-ethic, accountability, passion, and teamwork time and time again. The recipient of this award has grown into an exceptional young adult and has the ability to make an incredible difference.
Coach Hughes listed Maeve’s numerous accolades that proved her deserving of the award – from her work with the larger community as to her efforts with her teammates fostering an incredible dynamic, Maeve does it all, and all with others in mind before herself. Upon receiving the award, Maeve expressed gratitude to all of her coaches, former teammates, and current teammates, for teaching her how to lead with passion and composure. She also expressed her appreciation for the LEADS program.